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Osprey Down

The Local Puppy Trainer reports that a CV-22 Osprey crashes near Navarre, airmen injured

HURLBURT FIELD — An Air Force CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing crashed Wednesday evening.

All five airmen aboard were injured, said Master Sgt. Kristina Newton, a spokeswoman for Hurlburt Field. Three of the airmen were flown to local hospitals and two were taken by ambulance, Newton said.

That’s $70 million we won’t see again, enough to cover the costs of the wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado.

As the crew didn’t bail out, I have to assume it was flying below the minimum altitude for a safe deployment of a parachute, which is normal for Spec Ops missions, as was flying in the late evening to just before dawn. There is a major range north of Navarre which is about 20 miles west of me.

They should have stayed with the Blackhawk variant/AC-130 combination that has worked well for decades. I get nervous when I hear the Ospreys fly over my house at night on their way to the range at Eglin. After decades of development and tens of billions in cost, they just don’t want to stay in the air.

Update from the Local Puppy Trainer 6/15:

The Osprey assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing crashed during a routine training mission about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. The aircraft was found upside down and on fire just off Eglin Air Force Base’s A-78 gunnery range about seven miles northwest of Hurlburt Field.

Sounds like they were flying too low or lost power and flipped when the props hit the dirt.

2 comments

1 Badtux { 06.15.12 at 1:47 am }

It is provably impossible for the Osprey to fly during the transition between level flight and hover. It goes into a stall and sort of a controlled crash for a few moments during that transition — *if* you’re lucky. If *not* lucky… well.

The core problem: Computers aren’t very good at dealing with the impossible. It literally blows their little mind. The programmers have spent a long, long time trying to teach the Osprey’s flight computers how to cope with the fact that what it’s trying to do is literally not possible, but all it takes is one more unexpected little thing to go wrong during all of this and…

2 Bryan { 06.15.12 at 4:38 pm }

I’ll add an update to the post, but it sounds like they went in too low and caught a rotor blade on the ground or a tree, because the aircraft was on its back. It was flying the wing slot on a two aircraft firing pass on the range, and the lead aircraft wasn’t aware of a problem until they couldn’t make contact after the pass, and then discovered the bird on its back just past the end of the range.